Organized Retail Theft Picks Institutional Pockets

Posted on 05/19/2023

Organized retail theft has taken the retail world by storm, with implications for institutional favorites such as Walmart. Shoplifting continues, but there is more to it in recent years. Brazen criminals working in teams can clean out vast amounts of inventory in seconds, leaving retailers with holes in their stores and no product for legitimate shoppers.

Due to recent legal policies, consequences for many crimes considered low-level are not significant. American thieves are casting a wide net, reaching across the world to Norges Bank Investment Management. Norges Bank has been unloading Walmart, but still retains 18,328,064 shares. Norges Bank dropped 1,613,112 shares, and was joined by sellers SSgA Funds Management (State Street Corporation), Northern Trust Investments, and Charles Schwab Investment Management.

The problem has become substantial enough that even left-leaning governments are putting their foot down. In Washington state, Attorney General Bob Ferguson is tired of the state losing US$ 2.7 billion due to theft annually. He is creating a new police unit to combat the problem. The state has allocated US$ 2.2 million toward the new task force. This is equivalent to the salary of about 30 new police officers in Washington. There could be far fewer if the task force is made up of veteran police officers with higher pay.

Target’s CEO Brian Cornell mentioned the problem in the company’s latest earnings report, and it is impacting the bottom line to the tune of almost US$ 1 billion. Increases in theft in 2023 account for US$ 500 million of that amount. The retailer says consumers are not very interested in non-essentials either as sales remain flat. Home Depot and Walmart executives have also commented on theft, as it increases worryingly.

Retail Real Estate
According to the Washington Retail Association, retail theft costs Washington businesses US$ 2.7 billion every year.

Keywords: Norway Government Pension Fund Global, Target Corporation.

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